Transfer Portal Target: Kentucky’s Keion Brooks

In today’s portal talks, Todd Golden and his staff have reached out to is a familiar name to Gator fans–Keion Brooks.

 

Brooks has played three seasons at Kentucky and following the year entered both the NBA Draft and the transfer portal. He has said that his goal and focus is the NBA, though he may not be in a position to warrant the type of professional attention he is looking for. 

 

A heralded high school prospect, Brooks was someone who was on one-and-done radars when he came to Kentucky. The 24th ranked recruit in the class of 2019 Brooks attended powerhouse high school La Lumiere and going to Kentucky was the next natural step for a player that many thought were destined for the NBA. Not only was Brooks a highly-rated player but he was a 6’7”, 210 pound wing–the exact type of player the pro game is looking for.

 

Things haven’t exactly gone to plan for Brooks and his one-and-done dreams turned into three seasons at Kentucky and now he could be back to college for a fourth season. Yes, his focus right now is on the NBA, but the 10.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game he averaged may not be enough for a team to take a chance on him.

 

For that reason, he is remaining in contact with college teams that he could possibly head to should the NBA not work out. Currently the Gators are on a relatively long list of teams he’s talking to including Arizona, UCLA, Ohio State, Notre Dame, and others. 

 

Brooks’ game is all about athleticism and physicality, and he had success slashing to the rim in the SEC with his quick first step and muscular frame to protect the ball before powering up at the rim to finish. He was also a capable rebounder, particularly on the offensive end where his 7’0” wingspan was used to back tap missed shots to his teammates. 

 

While Brooks came out of high school advertised as a small forward his role has shifted more to that of a power forward, setting screens and then hanging out near the rim where he can catch drop off passes and finish with a power layup or dunk. This has changed his brand from big, physical wing to power forward of average size but plus athleticism, and it has hurt his NBA potential.

 

Another element of Brooks’ game that could use some work is the outside shot. He is only 23% from three in his career, something that has limited how Calipari could use him and something that will be a question for him as he tries to reach his NBA dreams. 

 

However, his hurt NBA stock doesn’t mean he isn’t an effective college player and you can see why Coach Golden has interest. Golden has been looking at making the Gators a longer and more athletic team that will compete on the defensive end and rebound and Brooks would contribute in both of those areas. The Gators currently have some good options at the wing and power forward spots, but 6’7” athletes are the types of players that can slide into multiple positions and it seems there are always minutes available for those kinds of players, particularly ones with the pedigree of Brooks.

 

There is still time for Brooks to go through workouts and look at his professional options before deciding if he’ll come back to college and if he does the Gators should have a chance at landing him. 

 

Even if they don’t, think is another target that shows just how confident Todd Golden is in his abilities to recruit and the strength of the Florida brand. He has continued to go after top targets in the transfer portal no matter where the player is from or how the fit would be on the roster, and he’s stayed in the mix with every single one of them. Florida fans should be excited by his ability to stay in recruiting races for top targets even before he has coached a single game in orange and blue. If he’s able to have success early in his time at Florida, which is definitely possible with the roster he has put together, you could see more top talent coming to Gainesville in a hurry.



Eric Fawcett
Eric hails from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His blend of sports and comedy has landed his words on ESPN, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, Lindy's and others. He loves zone defenses, the extra pass, and a 30 second shot clock. Growing up in Canada, an American channel showing SEC basketball games was his first exposure to Gator hoops, and he has been hooked ever since. You can follow him on Twitter at @Efawcett7.